March 30, 2007

Aila - Alvida ?

March 30, 2007 Posted by Vijay , 3 comments
I have always been a great fan of Ian Chappell. He gives candid opinions, on cricket. On why the game should be kept simple. Pre-World Cup in an interview he mentioned, that batting is a very simple thing. When one tries to analyse the nitty gritties, of the batsman falling over, playing across the line, opening the face of the bat, it dilutes the essence of batting. The best way to bat in a cricket match is - To defend the good ball, and punish the bad ones. As long as the bat is used to strike the ball, the batsman will continue to be successful.

His views on the game, with respect to the fact that coaches cannot be of major influence has been proved again. Dravid was given the team he wanted. Though apparently Greg Chappell, the almost outgoing Indian Coach (If I may put it that way) wanted Suresh Raina in the team. Now, why Greg even thought of roping in a below par performing Raina, only he knows. Infusing young blood is always good. But it should be taken in a sensible way after assessing performances. Now that we do know that a coach has only as much say as giving suggestions, how can he make a difference to a team on ehe cricket field ?

Cricket is probably the only game where the captain has to be intelligent, brilliant and tactful in his moves. No other sport demands such skills of tactfulness and strategy than cricket. As a result, any decision taken by the captain on the field gets scrutinised and comes under the microscope. Dissection of these views is more prominent these days with the vast influx of the television and media. So, unless a Hansie Cronje Earpiece help is given to a captain by a Bob Woolmerish coach, the game will remain as one which the captain has huge responsibility of. No coach can ever help a captain on the field. And in this context, maybe the Indian team maybe well off without even having a coach !

March 28, 2007

Indian Cricketers' Ads - Post World Cup

March 28, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
Mein Kaun Hoon Mein Kahaan Hoon, is what Sachin would feel soon, or has already been made to feel. For the first time, maybe in 18 years of a supposedly illustrious career, he is facing the wrath of the entire nation. People calling for his head, and demanding that he be dropped. And once he is dropped, Sachin, in his own unique style will say -"Main Kaun Hoon, Main Kahaan Hoon", "Aila, Mujhe Drop Kar Diya". He will probably hate buying his own Sunfeast biscuits.

Dravid (though not to be blamed for the World Cup fiasco) will not find anchor on the cricketing field, and would have to search for that elusive anchor switch at his own home. Surely, the wall has hit a wall, and darkness owing to electricity loss hasn't helped matters.

Dhoni, probably would have to cut his hair, or even tonsure his head, since it is doubtful whether he would be given a long rope. Since in Dhoni's case his hair is as long as one can imagine a rope to be, he shouldn't expect too much of sympathy. Maybe, shaving his hair would give a positive signal, that he is ready to start things afresh. From the ROOTs so to speak.

March 27, 2007

No Say In Stray

March 27, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
Sometimes, knee jerk reactions work wonders. With the stray dog issue now getting more prominence (courtesy, a responsible media, sarcasm intended) due to the debacle of the Indian Cricket Team at the Cricket World Cup, the animal right activists have woken up. Woken up, from the deep slumber should we say? How many Bangaloreans knew there were the following Animal Right Activists' Groups - Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA), Animal Rights Fund? Well, if you didn’t, they do exist. If not, they do now. Suddenly, they have started raising a hue and cry over the culling of Stray Dogs, especially in Bangalore.

I love animals, and there is no doubt that I love dogs too! But does that mean, I would follow Gandhigiri and try and love a Dog when it is attacking me? Dogs gone astray are quite an unfortunate thing. Firstly, if the Animal Rights Activists need to have any say at all in their objection to the culling, they should have pre-empted this backlash. They should have been proactive and started doing something to avoid the dogs going astray. Instead, when the menace of the stray dogs has taken alarming proportions, any sort of measure by the Civic Authorities is termed as knee jerk reaction?

Pray, where do these Animal Activists take root from? I would like to know how many of them have vegetarian food? How many of them boycott having food from Non-Vegetarian restaurants. How many of them volunteer to adopt all the strays as their own pets? Can they handle that? Would things have come to this extent, had they done something about it? I hate to stereotype while airing my views, but the media has a hand in this aspect too.

March 24, 2007

A Welcome Defeat

March 24, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
For once, I was hoping India would lose. I know my statement mocks at any sort of patriotic feeling towards the country from a countryman. But, the defeat for the Indian Cricket team in the already controversy-marred Cricket World Cup in West Indies can only test the resilience of the Indian Cricket team, and more importantly the so called "Billion Cricket Fans" from India. Whoever said there are a billion cricket fanatics in India, has really been responsible for the emotional responses from passionate cricket fans.

When I realised it was a do or die match for India against Sri Lanka yesterday, I was hoping India would lose. And even if India won, I would have still been happy. Why did I want India to lose ? Simple reason, that there are more important things for the billion or more Indians to do than watch a 11 member cricket team perform or not perform. That our country is so starved of sports personalities is so evident by the involvement of everyone. From the prime minister, to the Bollywood Stars to every possible News Channel. And who raises hopes and expectations ? The media. I would say, Indian media is probably one of the most exploitative in the world. How else can one define the gimmicks of every channel to rope in any available cricket legend, force them to wear Carribean Clothing, sit and make them listen to Vande Mataram, and finally give the same goddamn conclusion ? India has to win. India has to play Kumble.

Over and over in every channel, the conclusion was the same. But the personalities involved were different. Any layman would have realised India had to win. Of course ! Every match has to be won ! And then, the never ending chain of ads on Air, Ooh Aah India, Tigers on the ground, gully cricket ad from Nike, and dozens more. And all this in the hope that India would come out victorious. Now what happens of all these ads ? Do they get scrapped ? What is the point in even airing them ?

March 21, 2007

CWC - Controversial World Cup ?

March 21, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
Public sympathy and dismay over the Pakistani Cricket Team's Coach have now over shadowed the ongoing Cricket World Cup itself. Pakistan, yet again has managed to be in the cricketing limelight, inevitably for all the wrong reasons. The past 9 months have been tumultous for the Pakistani team. A forfeited Oval Test match in England, charges against Inzamam, Younis Khan refusing to take the captaincy mantle for Champions' Trophy. Immediately followed by the doping scandal ahead of the Champions' Trophy against Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar, a disastrous South African Tour, mystery surrounding Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar's non-inclusion in the World Cup Squad, and probably most damagingly, the loss to Ireland on Saturday last, followed by the death in mysterious circumstances of Bob Woolmer their coach.

The list seems like an action filled soap opera, except that they have done only bad things for Pakistani Cricket and is threatening to damage the gentleman's game with conspiracy theories floating around Bob Woolmer's death. Pakistan cricket probably has never had this worse a period of time. The biggest upset ever in ODIs against Ireland, and the very next day the death of Bob Woolmer in mysterious circumstances. Pakistan cricket has now hit a new low. If investigations going on Kingston, Jamaica are to be taken seriously around the death of Woolmer, it wouldn't be a surprise if some major heads in Pakistan Cricket would roll.

March 20, 2007

Chilling Out In Ooty

March 20, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
After 3 consecutive weekends of trips and treks, a long weekend could not have been spared ! First it was Mudumalai (or famously renamed as Malaigudi by the new age Columbus), then it was the Yelagiri Hills (Bangalore-Chennai Route), and finally Pakshipathalam (Wayanad, the other side of Brahmagiri). Physically taxing was the common refrain by the core group which ventured in all these 'expeditions'. Not surprisingly, I was the common factor in all these trips, and was about to join in the fun once again for the long weekend.

Ugadi, the Kannadiga and Telugu New Year fell on the 19th, a Monday. Though I was adamant and kept making statements "Mujhe Jungle Jaana Hai", I couldn't muster enough support to go on a trekking expedition. All had gone into relaxation mode. My only point of argument was, that if relaxation was the intention, sleeping at home in Bangalore made more sense than packing bags and going all the way to a Hill Station. But, I was willing to go with any plan, since a weekend Getaway was all I wished for.

Alok, Renjith, Anil, Nandini and I set out to make this trip happen. Renjith's suggestion of Ooty was and will remain a masterstroke, since we had apprehensions that the climate in Ooty in the month of March may not be that cold. I could't lay much claim to this theory since it had been more than 6 years since I last went there, and wasn't sure about the weather conditions. But we were in for a pleasant surprise, though not Renjith, who knew all along what he said.